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What’s Coming Next for Visual Studio

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Today at Build, Microsoft’s Amanda Silver and Tim Sneath gave a presentation on what is in store for future releases of Visual Studio 2017.  One area that Microsoft has been focused on is improving the accessibility of the IDE to all users, including those that are visually impaired.

As it turns out, in older versions of Visual Studio, Microsoft did not fully implement all of the APIs needed for the best accessibility experience.  An example of this was the Locals window in the debugger--- until now VS did not make it easy for a visually impaired user to know what the output was.  As it was explained, typically a developer in this situation would have to cut and paste the output from the window into an instance of Notepad so that the Windows Speech Synthesizer could read out the information.  Obviously, this was a huge inconvenience but is now corrected. 

There are a couple of lessons here for all developers, regardless of their sight abilities.  First, accessibility APIs exist and it is important to utilize them wherever possible, as it is relatively straight forward to implement but will make a world of difference for many groups of users.  Second, even users with full sight will benefit as related accessibility features (such as providing keyboard shortcuts for all displayed functionality) will increase productivity for everyone.

The presentation continued with Silver discussing some of the core design principles that the Visual Studio team is following while they build the product.  In her words, the goal is for VS2017 to support any developer, any application, and any platform.  Microsoft feels these goals are being met as their metrics show that VS2017 had the fastest adoption rate of any Visual Studio tool.

The latter half of the presentation focused on demos of both new and recent additions to VS2017:

  • Live Unit Testing, including support for .NET Core
  • Run-to-Click
  • Docker Container support for ASP.NET applications – including both new and existing projects
  • Violations of coding style and rules can be identified before a code commit.  Then they can be reviewed for corrections prior to finalizing the commit.

If you are interested in trying out the latest build (Visual Studio 2017 15.3 Preview), you can do so today without any impact on your existing VS2017 installation.

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